A big score for Kirk Caldwell came Thursday: The president of the United States endorsed the mayor’s re-election.

“Great cities are the foundation of our country, so it’s important that we elect mayors with vision, integrity, and passion for the job,” said Barack Obama, according to a press release from the campaign. “That’s Kirk Caldwell.”

President Obama posed for a photo with you-know-who after landing in Honolulu in August.
President Obama posed for a hurried photo op with you-know-who after landing in Honolulu in August. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

The Honolulu-born POTUS added:

“I support Kirk for Mayor because he cares about working families and the urban fabric within which they live. He continues to improve the quality of basic infrastructure, and he has been a champion of rail which will be a game changer for Honolulu.

“Kirk demonstrates local values and manages with a local heart. I see the changes and improvements when I come home to Honolulu, and I urge voters to give him the opportunity to finish the work that he has started.”

Caldwell said he was “profoundly grateful” for the presidential nod.

In other endorsement news Thursday, UNITE HERE! Local 5 — a labor union representing 11,000 hotel, health care and food service workers throughout the state — gave its support to Caldwell.

Oddly, on Wednesday, the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association‘s political action committee declined to endorse either Caldwell or challenger Charles Djou, though the PAC identified dozens of other county and state legislators that it supports.

Look for the union label.
Look for the union label. Caldwell For Mayor

“We commend Mayor Caldwell for the dialogue and cooperation he has engaged in with the hospitality industry in building upon the track record of his predecessors,” said Mufi Hannemann, HLTA’s president and CEO, in a press release. “Two areas were noted in particular: his work with HLTA’s initiatives on homelessness, and the city’s support for ongoing revitalization projects in Waikiki.”

He continued: “On the other hand, former U.S. Congressman Charles Djou was unequivocal in his support of HLTA’s number-one legislative priority: pursuing uncollected taxes from transient vacation rentals to help ensure a level playing field. His endorsements from council members who chair key committees also suggest a collaborative working relationship with the legislative body he was once a member of.”

Hannemann is a former mayor, and Caldwell served as his managing director and replaced him on an acting basis when Hannemann resigned to run, unsuccessfully, for governor.

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